Wednesday

Todd Elik

This is Todd Elik. He was a late bloomer, never drafted after an uninspiring OHL junior career. But his blazing speed got him a shot at the pros and eventually into the NHL.

Elik actually gave up on his NHL dream after junior, heading to Regina to enroll in university classes. But after one season he signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers, and immediately placed with their IHL farm team in Colorado. He exploded for 100 points, catching the eyes of scouts everywhere.

The Kings were looking for an injection of youth when they traded veteran defenseman Dean Kennedy to the Rangers. Included in the package was Elik, who would spend the first year and a half in the Kings' organization with their AHL farm team.

Elik got the call up to the NHL in 1989-90 season, impressing many. I vividly remember Don Cherry raving about the Brampton, Ontario underdog. With most eyes on new Kings' star Wayne Gretzky, the unknown Elik was an eye catching player, too. He was an exciting skater with blistering speed. He provided some timely offense while shoehorned into the role as the team's second line center.

That kind of sums up Elik's career. He would move from team to team to team, often as a short term solution at center. His speed created offense, but his hands were not quite up to speed. At times he looked off balance, unable to handle the puck at his breakneck pace. He was often unable to muster much of a shot from the high speed either. But every once in a while he would have a dazzling game, attracting a new team.

As a result he would bounce around the NHL. From Los Angeles he went to Minnesota, Edmonton, San Jose, St. Louis and Boston, never spending more than a couple of seasons with any team.

Bottom line? He was not a great offensive player, relying on his speed to create it, even though ironically his speed hindered him, too. He could not effectively play any role outside of second line center. He was willing to play physically, but he was too lean and weak to win many battles in traffic or along the boards.

Todd Elik played in 448 NHL games, scoring 110 goals, 219 assists and 329 points, respectable numbers all around. He would parlay his NHL career into a lengthy stay in Europe, playing in Switzerland and Austria for well over a decade beyond his last NHL game. In addition to supplying offense over in Europe, he has found the nasty side of his game, putting up some surprisingly high penalty minute totals, leading his entire league in PIMs 5 times.

1 comments:

The North York Nut November 28, 2010 at 6:42 PM  

Elik still plays you know.

At 43 he is playing for an Austrian club.

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